Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding: What To Know
If you're on this page...
Chances are you're curious about the health benefits of intermittent fasting as a woman — weight loss, more energy, help with detox, etc....
But as a new or expecting mom, you also want to make sure it's safe for your baby.
Well, you're in the right place.
You may have heard other women talk about the extra pounds they shed from breastfeeding alone (nature's own weight loss program)...
But while this happens for some... it doesn't for everyone.
This leaves some women searching for other options to regain their normal health routine & shed baby fat.
So, let's talk about considerations when fasting & breastfeeding... some pros & cons... as well as some helpful info along the way:
What is Intermittent Fasting?
You may already know about it... but here's a quick summary:
Intermittent fasting (I.F.) has become a popular trend in recent years.
Generally, it refers to a pattern of eating where you stick to a specific window of time to consume food, each day or each week.
It's been shown to provide a slew of health benefits...
A recent study showed that fasting intermittently led to a significant increase in cell resistance against diseases.
Another one also discovered that I.F. can help reduce inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Plus, it has become a go-to strategy to help lose weight...
During I.F., the body turns to the stored energy in fat cells to keep your body working.
This could help lower your overall consumption of calories, which can ultimately result in weight loss.
However, I.F. doesn't come without risk as well... so it's always good to first ask your doctor about trying it.
But the real question today is: Is it a good option for breastfeeding mothers?
Can You Do Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding?
In general, women need about 330-600 extra calories per day in order to support healthy milk production while breastfeeding...
It's recommended to eat different kinds of food, particularly those rich in calcium, protein, and iron...
This could increase your chances of keeping you and your baby healthy & thriving.
But it's important to know that fasting while breastfeeding is not a completely new idea...
Take the religion of Islam, for example: Many Muslim women's nursing schedules coincide with the holiday of Ramadan — during which practitioners do not eat between sunrise and sunset.
Some research of this holiday has revealed there seems to be changes in the micro and macronutrients in a women's milk.
But there's also conflicting evidence from NIH that shows I.F. does not significantly affect the macronutrients present in breast milk.
Even so, there were still observable decreases in important micronutrients such as potassium, zinc, and magnesium... and in overall nutrient intake, too.
Another possible risk is a drop in your milk supply...
There's been surveys of women who say they've observed lower production of milk while fasting...
But there's other anecdotal stories of those who haven't.
While you can try to improve your chances of normal functioning by eating the right amount of food you need during your eating window... it might be extra difficult to do so.
Ultimately, the effects of I.F. on nursing can vary from one mother to another...
For this reason, the best course of action is to talk with your healthcare providers so that you can navigate the potential risks together.
A simple conversation with a doctor could mean all the difference for you and your baby.
Conclusion: Are Intermittent Fasting & Nursing A Fit?
In short: Be careful.
If you choose to do intermittent fasting while nursing — after consulting with your healthcare & nutrition professionals —
Then you can try to lower your risks by doing it carefully and with discipline.
Also, be sure to use extra caution if considering highly restrictive forms of I.F., such as the 20/4 or 5/2 methods.
Start off slow... and don't take things to the extreme.
You want to avoid negatively impacting both you and the baby — especially since I.F. could interrupt each of your nutrition schedules.
Either way, here's to health and happiness for your family!
P.S. Want to see a short guide on intermittent fasting for women? 👈 Tap the link.
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